December 14, 2022 | Flash Brief

Breaking Precedent, Israel Provides Details of Syria Air Strike

December 14, 2022 | Flash Brief

Breaking Precedent, Israel Provides Details of Syria Air Strike

Latest Developments

Israel’s top general, Aviv Kohavi, revealed today that Israel had exceptionally detailed intelligence about a convoy hit by an airstrike last month while bringing Iranian weapons into Syria. Kohavi did not say explicitly that Israel launched the air strike, yet his description of events matched precisely with reports of an attack on November 8 in the vicinity of Bukamal, near the border between Iraq and Syria. Kohavi said the convoy had 25 trucks, and Israel knew “Truck number eight is the truck with the armaments.” He added, “And you have to send the pilots there, too.” While Israeli leaders have acknowledged the targeting of Iranian weapons shipments, they have rarely telegraphed the Israeli role in specific strikes.

Expert Analysis

“Iran is determined to arm Lebanese Hezbollah with advanced weapons that can target Israeli infrastructure and population centers with extraordinary precision. Geography necessitates most of these weapons move across Syria en route to Lebanon, making them vulnerable. The best estimates indicate Hezbollah already has hundreds of precision-guided munitions, which consistently hit within 20 meters of their target or less.

“Since its founding, Hezbollah has made clear that its purpose is to destroy the Jewish state. For Israel, it would be intolerable for such an enemy — perched on its northern border — to have weapons that could rapidly destroy the country’s power plants, airfields, and port facilities while scoring direct hits on schools and apartment buildings, too.” – David Adesnik, FDD Senior Fellow and Director of Research

Hezbollah’s Arsenal

Incapable of launching a conventional assault, Hezbollah has long relied on rocket fire as its principal means of threatening Israel, in particular by targeting civilians. Its main weapons include the Katyusha rocket, which the group has stockpiled in large numbers but whose accuracy is minimal. Israel estimates Hezbollah now has an arsenal of 150,000 rockets — few are accurate, but waves of unguided rockets could help overwhelm Israeli air defenses, such as Iron Dome, clearing the way for precision strikes.

The War Between Wars

Israel is waging what it calls a “War Between Wars” to prevent the Iranian regime and its proxies from building the capabilities they would need to launch a decisive war against the Jewish state. Initially, Israel refused to acknowledge the military component of its campaign, but it has begun to describe its efforts in general terms. In 2019, then Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said, “We struck thousands of targets,” adding that the Israeli Air Force dropped 2,000 bombs in Syria in 2018 alone.

Related Analysis

The Quiet War Between Israel and Iran,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Israel Reveals Iranian Missile Production Sites in Syria,” FDD Flash Brief

PGMs: Iran’s Precision-Guided Munitions Project in the Shadow of a Nuclear Deal,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Lebanon Syria